With a rich, 350-year history, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a must-see landmark for anyone in the St. Augustine, Florida, area. It’s often said that the location of this site is “where America began.”
Castillo de San Marcos is also referred to as “the old fort.” Even though you can’t ride your bike on the grounds, you can enjoy a scenic ride through St. Augustine and then take in the sites once you find a parking spot. Bring your camera!
About Castillo de San Marcos
Located in downtown St. Augustine, the monument was originally a wooden fort to protect the growing city from attacks by pirates and other nations. Before the current standing monument was built, nine wooden forts preceded it. All were destroyed by tragedies such as termites, hurricanes, and brute force attacks.
After a particularly egregious pirate attack in 1668, the entire town had been burned, and the pirate (known as John Davis) pillaged the area and vowed to return (cue evil villain music here). In response to this threat, the Queen of Spain decided to fortify St. Augustine with a stone fortress. After an arduous 23-year process, Castillo de San Marcos was rebuilt using a native shell stone called coquina.
The A1A Ride to Castillo de San Marcos
Visits to Castillo de San Marcos are at the top of any rider’s list when they are in the St. Augustine area. If you love fresh ocean breeze and salty sprays on your ride, then this route is for you. Ride along the coastline on A1A and head south into downtown. After a savory lunch, walk off the carbs with a tour of Castillo de San Marcos.
How to Explore Castillo de San Marcos
When you visit Castillo de San Marcos, you get to choose your own adventure. The park is classified as a “walk-in,” meaning that you can enter and explore at your own pace. Of course, there are also Park Rangers on the scene to talk about the history of the fort in regularly scheduled presentations.
You can also view live demonstrations of the weapons used to protect the fort, including cannonballs!
Other Attractions Near Castillo de San Marcos
Once you’ve had your fill of Castillo de San Marcos, don’t forget to explore the other local attractions nearby.
Our favorites include:
– Ripley’s Believe It or Not: This “odditorium” features more than 800 exhibits that will delight, entertain, and potentially leave you scratching your head in wonder. As the first Ripley’s location, you’ll also be able to see exhibits from the original collection.
– Colonial Quarter: Continuing with the historical theme of Castillo de San Marcos, the Colonial Quarter takes you back to the 17th century in a realistic reenactment of blacksmithing and shipbuilding.
– St. George Street: This well-preserved area is home to St. Augustine’s oldest buildings. Travel the 11 blocks to view collectibles and pick up a souvenir (or ten).
– Oldest Wooden School House: Your school days may be long behind you, but a bit of nostalgia can make you remember a simpler time. The schoolhouse offers tours where you can see the actual books kids used hundreds of years ago. No iPads here!
– Potter’s Wax Museum: Round out your day by taking a selfie with Britney Spears, Austin Powers, Harry Potter, and Albert Einstein. With 190 wax figures in all, there’s something for everyone!
One Last Thing From Law Tigers
Before you embark on your trip, don’t forget to sign up for Law Tigers’ free riders’ benefits package. It includes free legal advice, information about industry events, exclusive giveaways, and access to a toll-free hotline. There are also other valuable benefits that will come in handy. Check it out here; it’s free!